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What’s next for the high value asset levy? 02/03/2017

Last year, the government announced that it would not introduce the high value asset levy (HVA) and the requirement to sell so called "higher value" council housing stock as it becomes vacant until after April 2018. However, speculation is growing that the government may make an announcement on its plans for the introduction of the HVA levy in the forthcoming Budget Statement.


Many commentators speculated that the absence of any specific mention of the HVA levy in the recent Housing White Paper might indicate that the government was rethinking the introduction of the Levy and the forced sale of higher value council housing. However, in the debate on the Housing White Paper and in response to a question on this matter from Ms Karen Buck MP, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said:


" … We are committed to allowing people who live in housing association homes the right to buy. We have started a process of pilots, as I think the Hon. Lady will be aware; some 3,000 homes, I think, are involved in that. Once it is complete, we will decide how exactly to take the pilot forward." (Hansard 7 February: column 236)


Despite the fact that the extended regional pilot of the introduction of the right to buy to housing association tenants has not yet started in earnest (and is funded by DCLG for four years), it is understood that the government may begin consultations shortly on the Determinations and Regulations for introduction of the HVA levy under the Housing and Planning Act 2016. 


A response from a senior DCLG official to a request from ARCH to include the matter on the agenda for an upcoming meeting was less than forthcoming:"I do not think we will be in a position to discuss the higher value assets policy in any detail."


ARCH chief executive, John Bibby, comments:


"The policy of extending the right to buy to housing association tenants should not be funded by forcing stock retained councils to hand over the proceeds from the forced sale of so called higher value council housing. However, if the government do intend to proceed with the introduction of the HVA levy, no final decisions should be taken on the introduction of the levy or the amount to be levied on councils until the outcome of the government's extended pilot is known and the costs and implications of extending this policy nationally to all housing association tenants can be properly assessed." 


ARCH will be producing an analysis for ARCH members of any announcements in the forthcoming Budget that may affect housing policy and stock retained councils.   

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